Hark! Your watchmen raise their voices, As one they shout for joy; For every eye shall behold Hashem‘s return to Tzion. Isaiah 52:8 (The Israel Bible™)
A Canadian pastor is seeing prophecy materialize in the simplest way possible; by bringing Jews and Christians together in song. A simple as it seems, the idea is gathering momentum and is now becoming a global phenomenon in ways no one could have anticipated.
Pastor Dean Bye of Return Ministries was inspired by the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who called on people from all races and religions to join together in song for Israel’s 70th anniversary.
“Let’s sing together!” President Rivlin declared last May. “Religious, secular, Arabs, Jews, soldiers, women, men, children… let’s put aside everything that divides us and do together what connects us and brings us together – it’ll be fun!”
Rivlin’s idea blossomed into reality in April 2018. Koolulam, an Israeli social singing phenomenon that brings together crowds to sing together, answered the call. 12,000 people gathered in Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv to practice and then record Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh” (Over All of These).
When Pastor Bye saw this, he realized it was prophecy materializing in front of his eyes.
“President Rivlin carries the authority of God, so when he said this, it wasn’t just to initiate a social gathering,” Pastor Bye said. “All through the scriptures it says that the nations will sing. Prophecy is happening so when I heard the call to sing and saw that it was in prophecy, I took it is as a commandment to live by. Imagine stadiums filled with with Jews and Christians singing together, eye to eye.”
An opportunity to bring this vision into reality immediately presented itself. Return Ministry operates an aliyah center for the Jewish Agency serving new immigrants to Israel in Kibbutz Beit Zera on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The kibbutzniks, self-proclaimed atheistic socialists, approached Pastor Bye. They had been carefully observing the ministry’s work and it presented them with an unfamiliar side of Christianity. They told the pastor that they wanted to connect with the ministry. But the connection they had in mind was not a simple meeting of minds or a discussion group.
For kibbutzniks, song necessarily accompanies work and is central to their social structure. Return Ministries hosted a Sing Together event on May 14, 2018, Israel’s Independence Day, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It drew Israelis from the surrounding region as well as Christian representatives from 37 nations. Together they learned the classic Israeli song, “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo” (All the world is a narrow bridge). Apropo to the words, they sang the song on a bridge spanning the Jordan River.
“The beauty of music comes out in harmony,” Pastor Bye explained. “It is when two people come together. The music is made even more beautiful because of the differences. So here we have the voices of the Jews, the voices of the Christians, and the third part of the Harmony is God.”
“Every father knows how wonderful it is when his children sing together,” the pastor explained. “We surely got that from God, who loves it when his children sing together.”
“We each have our part in this prophecy,” Dean Bye said to Breaking Israel News. “I can’t take your part, you can’t take my part, and we both need the other to do his part, just like singing in harmony. And every person, every nation, has their unique role to play in prophecy.””
The next step was to take it on the road but Pastor Bye was unsure Jews were open to the idea. He returned to Montreal for an Israel Independence Day event where he met an old acquaintance, Cantor Daniel Benlolo. Pastor Bye was hesitant to present his idea but the Cantor immediately hugged him and asked, “When are we going to do an event together?’
The pastor realized that he had little choice.
“When the abba (father) wants the children to do something, they do it,” Pastor Bye said. “The prophecy was moving forward with a will of its own.”
So, on Sukkot, approximately 350 people, half Christians and half Jews, gathered at Shaare Zedek Synagogue in Montreal. Appropriately, one of the songs was Psalm 126.
Our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, “Hashem has done great things for them! Psalms 126:2
Pastor Bye pointed emphasized that this chapter of Psalms contained the Hebrew word ‘rina’ (song) three times.
“The coming together of Jews and Christians is going to be through song,” Pastor Bye said. “But it can’t be just the Jews or just the Christians. We each have to do our part.”
The prophecy is preparing to go global. The next Sing Together event will be in Jinja, Uganda on January 19. The choir will be composed of young Christian African orphans who are currently learning Hebrew songs. The choir will tour Canada, performing for Jews and Christians, adding a fourth part to the harmony.”
“This is not about religion, or trying to convince anyone. This is music, plain and simple.There’s a lot of Christians who love the choir. And that is precisely what the prophecy was talking about; no more and no less,” Pastor Bye concluded. “If we have any message for the Jews it is a prayer that they should return to Israel because for us as Christians, that is prophecy. That makes it important.”